Did I mention Guy #57 and I had unprotected sex?
Well, we did. Many times.
It was about a week after our last date when I found out he was dating someone else. I was devastated.
A few days later, I woke up in the middle of the night with the highest fever I ever had. Going delirious on a broken heart is the absolute worst way to lie awake at night.
The next morning I was on Wikipedia matching my symptoms with possible diseases. Of all possible diagnoses, Acute HIV Infection stood out as the most perfect match.
In my heart I knew I was about to become part of a statistic, that small percentage of Gay guys no gay wants to be a part of.
It was impossible to hide my symptoms from my mother. I needed half a day to recuperate from climbing the stairs. Knowing my mother to be the same hypochondriac as I am, I knew she was just as terrified as I was. Not for HIV specifically, but for whatever disease could have possibly struck her son.
I knew being HIV positive would be better than getting leukemia or some other lethal Wikipedia article. At the same time I was most afraid of having to tell my mother that her son had come down with a case of HIV. I didn’t even go there in our conversations. I acted cool and did my best to hide my worries. In response, my mother did the same.
When my symptoms didn’t disappear after two weeks I finally went to see a real Wikipedia, my doctor. I started off my consult by telling my doctor I was HIV positive. When I explained what I had done with Guy #57 my doctor more or less agreed that HIV was indeed probable, given my symptoms.
I emailed Guy #57 to say I was being tested for HIV. It wasn’t the kind of email I enjoyed writing to the first Guy I ever fell in love with. Guy #57 never responded on the issue, which made me worry even more.
All in all I spent three weeks being absolutely sure I somehow had to tell my mother I had done that one thing she had advised me not to do with Guys. I spent a lot of time on Wikipedia those weeks, constantly on the lookout for a diagnosis not as bad as HIV. I already pictured myself being surrounded by people acting politically correct toward my HIV status. In my mind it had already become a part of my identity: Oh, that’s uncle Lennard, he’s the gay uncle who has HIV from sticking it up a Guy he dug for a weekend, but we don’t treat him any differently.
I was quick to loathe my new self.
One of my best phone calls ever came from my doctor, when he called me to say I had a mono infection. I would have jumped in the air, but instead stayed in bed for the next four months.
A mono infection sucks, but those four months were good for me. I watched all eight seasons of 24 in as many days. Things did start to become boring after a week or so. 24 isn’t half as exciting the second time.
A mono infection sucks, but it beat being HIV positive. I could tell my mother was equally relieved. Upon hearing the news my mother and I hugged each other, that’s how glad I was I didn’t have to talk about her son and his bareback escapades.
A mono infection sucks, but some people get other calls from their doctor. I’m not sure what’s worse: Thinking you’re HIV positive or knowing you’re HIV positive.
For those that know, I hope the latter is better.